The Right Target for a Prolific Store Design

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By: Philippine Retailing Magazine

In 1997, Target Display was established by Felix Fiechter who settled in the Philippines after marrying his Filipina wife, Angeline. However, the beginning was greeted with the Asian Financial Crisis.

The first 10 months were very challenging for the new business but through determination and faith in the future of the retail industry, Target Display overcame the crisis and even grew to become one of the leading shop fitting companies in the country.

Philippine Retailing Magazine sat down with Felix to learn more about where the company is now and the issues, he feels most affect the retail industry today from his perspective:

What services and products do you offer to clients?

We do general shopfitting including retail interiors and related areas. We started in the Non-Food segment (product lines usually bought in a department store such as garments, shoes, etc.), and later added solutions in the Food segment (supermarkets and related formats) and in Logistics (storage areas, logistics equipment, etc.) because the supply base is the same.

What are the challenges you have faced along the way and how did the company overcome them?

The only constant is change. Because retail constantly evolves, the needs and wants of our customers constantly change. At best we anticipate changes in trends and needs but our supply base and our own production facilities allow us to adapt fast where we are forced to react.

The transition of 90% of our supply pipeline from Europe to Asia created many special challenges but also allowed us to develop our own product lines much faster. The majority of the product lines we carry today has been developed in-house. In the Non-Food segment production is largely in our own facilities.

As a foreigner doing business in the Philippines, what challenges or opportunities did you encounter?

All potential clients’ initial reaction was the same: “You are a foreigner so you must be expensive!” So, I would point out to them how much their watch was worth, etc. This invariably stopped this line of discussion and then we could move to financial benefits of working with us. The first few years were really very tough but we knew we had solutions that would work for them.

What are you most proud of as a company in terms of milestones, awards, strategies?

What I think we can be rightfully proud of is the introduction of modular systems in the Non-Food segment and we are constantly investing to remain a leading solutions provider. Much of that investment is concentrated on in-house systems and own production. We are likewise happy that we have clients who have been with us for more than 15 years. We have a very high employee retention rate because we constantly invest in training and systems upgrade to automate repetitious tasks. We want our staff to focus on work that allows them to showcase their talents and skills.

What are the current trends in the business you’re in and how do you respond to change to be able to stay relevant in the market?

Logistics problems and costs are out of control for all of us. Investments in data analytics and control- and productivity tools will produce efficiency gains for the Food and the Non-Food segment. For larger format Food retailers in particular, I expect that dispassionate data analytics will rule. It will be a bumpy ride to get there but it is the key. Customers will expect a complete product offering – which is an experience in itself – and they will demand a strong Fresh section. At the top of the Non-Food segment, the uncluttered and visually clean look & feel will continue to rule. Category killing concepts will become more common at the general market end.

Based on your experience, what are the important factors that make a retail display stand out?

Light attracts. We always suggest to update/upgrade lighting fixtures and to clean them regularly. Although we don’t offer general lighting, it is the first thing to think of as it is fast and generally affordable and the improvement is often surprising. Other than in support/harmony with overall look & feel, we don’t believe in darkish ceilings and ceiling designs are probably a waste of money in most cases. The customers’ eyes must be guided towards the merchandise.

The merchandise planning and layout for larger stores should be intuitive. That can be achieved through product displays and/or visuals above the display level. That should work better than signage that can only be read from within less than three meters. It also makes for a more vibrant store.

As a long-time exhibitor in the NRCE Stores Asia Expo, what would you say are the benefits you get from joining the exhibit?

The NRCE Exhibit is the venue where existing and prospective clients come to us and where we can update them about what we have done and the solutions we have added in just a few minutes. We go to great lengths to present solutions that we believe can address present and future market needs.

What value do you get by becoming a PRA member?

We don’t operate stores but the issues that affect our clients will have an impact on us sooner or later, directly or indirectly. PRA helps us to stay informed about issues that affect the industry we serve. The more we know about the industry, the better we can calibrate our products and services to the needs of the industry.

 

First published in Philippine Retailing Magazine Q1 Issue. Retail Spotlight aims to share the success stories and insights of PRA members.